In most cases, seasonal affective disorder symptoms appear during late fall or early winter and go away during the sunnier days of spring and summer. The levels of light change in the fall and winter can interrupt our circadian rhythms (which regulate the biochemical processes in the body). Symptoms specific to winter-onset SAD, sometimes called winter depression, may include:
- Appetite changes, especially a craving for foods high in carbohydrates
- Weight gain
- Tiredness or low energy
The fall+winter don’t have to be miserable. Here are a few ways to stay motivated and energized during this time of year:
- Vitamin D3-It’s both a vitamin+a hormone-because of its affect on hormones in the body, it’s thought to affect mood by improving your sense of well being. 1000-1500IU can be effective. Check with your doctor first!
- Sunlamps-levels of melatonin and serotonin drop in the winter (can cause lethargy and weight gain). Light therapy can treat SAD without any side effects. Philips Golite sunlamps can be found online and used for about 15 minutes a day about 15-20 inches away from the face.
- Rest more-go to bed early, don’t say yes to too many activities, focus on yourself as this is a time to go inward.
- Warm foods are essential: think crock pot meals, soups, stews to keep your internal temperature regulated
- Movement every day that gets you sweaty (that’s what we’re here for 😉